Tag Archives: ford

2025 Ford Explorer
News

Ta-da! This is the new, updated 2025 Ford Explorer

Ford sells a ton of Explorer SUVs. Old or new, it’s probably one of the more populous cars on the road, in police fleets, and on CarGurus. But the current model is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth compared to newer, more advanced rivals. That won’t remain a problem for long (sort of), as Ford recently introduced the 2025 Ford Explorer with substantive updates to its styling and interior. 

The Explorer’s powertrains remain unchanged, with a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder as the standard offering. It makes 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 is available, producing 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. All powertrains are reportedly mated to a retuned 10-speed auto. The SUV keeps its rear-drive bias, and four-wheel drive is still available. 

Ford gave the Explorer a new face for 2025, with the Active trim featuring a sawtooth grille with black mesh and chrome bars. The ST-Line and ST get honeycomb gloss-black grilles, and the ST adds red badging. The top Platinum trim gets a wing design grille with satin chrome and black accents. Ford offers seven new wheel designs, with sizes from 18 to 21 inches.

Each trim gets a unique interior look, ranging from the dark grey, bronze, and black accents in the Active trim to the “Mojave Dusk” interior theme for the Platinum model. The sporty ST and ST-Line get black interior finishes with red stitching, and the ST adds Miko suede inserts to the upholstery.

Image credit: Ford

Interior tech got an upgrade, with a standard 13.2-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford also equips a 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster, Amazon Alexa capabilities, eight USB ports with two for third-row passengers, three 12-volt powerpoints, and a Class III trailer tow package. Buyers can also add Blue Cruise, a hands-free driving assistance feature.

Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ comes standard, bringing features like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, and more. The 2024 Explorer earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick award for the 2023 calendar year, so the new model should perform at the same level. 

Image credit: Ford

If you’re hoping to get a 2025 Explorer, the order books opened this morning. You’re looking at a $41,220 starting price, including destination, and deliveries should start in the second quarter of this year.

read more

Ford, last year’s most recalled car brand, issues its second major recall of 2024

Ford was the most recalled automaker of 2023, and it’s wasting no time getting started for a second consecutive year in 2024. The company recently announced a recall of more than 100,000 vehicles – its second such action in 2024 – for an issue with its three-cylinder engines.

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost Fox engine could experience an issue where the belt tensioner’s joint breaks down over time. If that happens, the tensioner arm can fall out of position and ultimately cause problems with the oil pump. The failure can cause a drop or loss of oil pressure, and a loss of belt tension could deactivate other components that rely on it, such as the vacuum pump that handles braking. Ford said it’s aware of one crash related to the problem, which resulted in two injuries and no fatalities.

The recall involves 2017-2022 Ford EcoSport SUVs and 2016-2018 Focus Hatchbacks. Owners have long reported problems with the engine, stating that they’re prone to losing oil pressure, sometimes with as little as 50,000 miles on the clock. A group of owners filed a class-action lawsuit, but Ford’s recall should help repair the issue. Dealers will install a shorter tensioner arm and a new drive belt that will help prevent degradation and damage over time.

The Blue Oval also recently recalled more than 100,000 F-150s for an issue that could cause a rollaway accident. The automaker has vowed to make improvements in its quality to help reduce warranty and recall expenses, but this isn’t a hugely promising start. Ford had dozens of recalls affecting millions of vehicles last year, almost twice the number of the second-most recalled automaker, Kia

read more
BMW X3 M and X4 M
Buying GuidesFeatures

Five fast compact SUVs you can get for under $100K in 2023

Behold our Fast Five! Er, Fast Five for the whole family. If you want a compact SUV that offers space for you and your family but also would want a surge of power available when you want it. Compact SUVs can offer you the best of both worlds, as you can get a fun, sporty, non-snoozeville vehicle that drives well while still delivering enough space for grocery hauls and IKEA expeditions. Having one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market can be a major benefit as you do not need to worry about being late for any event, whether it be the driver’s meeting at the track, the campground at the end of the trail, or soccer practice down the street. Without further ado, allow me to walk you through the sprightlier side of these glorified lifted hatchbacks. 

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands (hold your horses and bear with us)

Top Speed: 121 MPH

What’s hot?

  • Conquer trails with Ford’s G.O.A.T system
  • The customization options you get with the Bronco family allow you to create your own custom Bronco Sport 

What’s not?

  • Expensive as far as its class goes
  • It may be too compact for some families

Stop! Hear me out. I know everything on this list is a little spendy. A little bit on the affluent side of sub-six-figures. However, the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands is one of the fastest sub-compact SUVs you can get new in the American car market this low down in the price bracket. As the Bronco Sport is just as capable as its bigger brother, you can go anywhere in Bronco Sport while also getting there quickly. A great reason to look at the Bronco Sport Badland edition is the customization you can get from Ford, allowing you to have the best Bronco. And although its price can get a little lofty as far as compact crossovers are concerned, it’s still among the most frugal and pennywise offerings in Ford’s stable. Looking at you, Lightning.

Being the most capable compact SUV on the list doesn’t make the Ford Bronco a slouch. With a proven top speed well into the 120-mph range, you can tackle any interstate with this SUV, given you have a decent lawyer. The Ford Bronco gets its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, producing a staggering (for its breed) 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, enabling it to hit 60 in under six seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. Bronco Sport ST, maybe?

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Can be specced with seven seats if you really need it
  • The 4Matic all-wheel drive balances sporty driving and all-weather capability

What’s not?

  • Currently no hotter “45” model like the AMG GLAs 
  • Notable wind and tire noise

When you hear the word AMG, you immediately think of German power and performance. A diminutive four-banger box probably isn’t part of that image, yet here we are. Enter the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35. With the refined nature of the Mercedes and its performance, you get the AMG badge, making it one of the fastest small SUV options to get. 

Producing 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque coming from a 2.0l turbocharged inline-four, you get a top speed of 155 MPH, which is actually electronically limited. With a 0-60 MPH of 5.1 seconds that you get from the eight-speed automatic gearbox, you will be able to beat most commuter cars and even some entry-level sports cars off the line. 

Audi SQ5 Sportback

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Still gets decent fuel economy
  • Modern and luxurious interior

What’s not?

  • Price can inflate rapidly
  • Audi’s definition of high performance can be a timid drive for some 

Its premium luxury look and feel are mixed in with speed and power. The Audi SQ5 Sportback will always impress those who drive it, even if it’s not the hottest or fiercest thing in its field. With styling cues from the larger and far more imposing Audi RS Q8 models, you get a premium compact SUV that is also one of the fastest compact SUVs, and it delivers on its mission with heaps of swag and style for the money.

Being limited to a top speed of 155 mph from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, you get a staggering 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to play with. The SQ5 has an eight-speed automatic that accelerates 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. All this performance goes through the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive system, allowing you to use all the power anytime. 

Porsche Macan GTS

Top Speed: 163 MPH

What’s hot?

  • One of the sharpest and most dynamic crossovers, period
  • It has a very sporty seating position

What’s not?

  • Among the costlier options here and can easily inflate deep into the six figures
  • It may be quite big for some people

Given the Porsche Macan GTS is, uh, well, a Porsche, it will always be a head-turner and a genuine performer wherever you take it. Porsche translates its vast knowledge of legendary sports cars into something that gives its customers one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market.

The Macan has evolved a bit over several years, but know the current GTS’ 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 creates 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. These staggering figures allow the Macan GTS to have an acceleration of 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. That’s up there with the best sports cars today and was supercar territory merely a decade or so ago. All this power gets sent to all four wheels through Porsche’s acclaimed seven-speed PDK dual-clutch.

BMW X3 M and X4 M Competition 

Top Speed: 177 MPH 

What’s hot?

  • Porsche-rivaling stats
  • One of the most sports car-like in its field

What’s not?

  • Some may find the ride a bit too harsh. 
  • Go ahead. Buy the X4. Show us how little taste you have. 

Being one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market, the BMW X4 M and X3 M Competition deliver performance in spades, more so than many other performance SUVs on the market, big or small. As part of the M family of cars, their turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six powertrains carry over from the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The BMW X3 and X4 are mechanically identical, but the X4 bears that iconically controversial coupe-inspired design that the world loves to hate. Not that ugly is anything new to BMW.

The Competition package turns up the wick with 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, a healthy leap from the base cars’ 473 horsepower and 457 pound-feet. All this power goes through an eight-speed automatic to an all-wheel-drive system. The resulting performance figures are a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 177 MPH.

Bronco Sport Meme
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

read more
VW Golf GTI (top left), Mazda CX-5 (top right), Corvette C8 (bottom left), Mercedes Sprinter van (bottom right)
Best CarsFeaturesHot Takes

These are the best cars we’ve driven

What qualifies a vehicle as being among the best? Is the best car the one with the ferocious powertrain, that zips from zero to sixty miles per hour in the shortest amount of time? Or is the best car the one that lasts the longest with the least amount of maintenance required? For some people, the best car is the one with the most luxurious interior, the highest towing capacity, or the roomiest cabin for the price. Because everyone has different criteria, rather than embarrass ourselves attempting to narrow a car recommendation for every type of person down to a tidy list of 10, we’ve chosen instead to please no one by telling you about the cars we feel are the best, based on our own experiences.

Sure, we’ve driven faster, more expensive, and more technologically advanced cars. But this is a consensus rooted in pure subjectiveness. It’s not about what cars we’ve driven were the most innovative or groundbreaking, and it certainly isn’t about the cars we found to be the most practical. This group show-and-tell by the Acceleramota team is all about which cars are nearest and dearest to our hearts after some time behind the wheel, no matter the length of the stint or the circumstance in which we drove them.

What’s the best car you’ve ever driven? Let us know in the comments.

Jeric Jaleco: Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Image credit: Ford

The market has seen its fair share of spectacular driver’s cars, but only once in a blue moon does one really scratch that itch. Or at least my itch for something catering to my mixed tastes, having coveted cars like the E92 BMW M3 and Shelby GT500. The Shelby GT350 is among that elite bunch and the perfect combination of their philosophies in my headcanon. And listen, I’m not one to incessantly bemoan the loss of purist machines from years past, but this glorified rental car proves they just don’t build sports cars like they used to and probably never will ever again.

The GT350 launched to widespread acclaim for pretty much being the second coming of Car Jesus. It snatched top spots in numerous comparisons, even placing second in Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car for two years, bested only by McLaren’s 570S and a 911 Carrera S. It’s far from the fastest muscle car at Woodward Avenue, but it’s certainly one of the most beloved sports cars of recent memory, and my time behind the wheel of a 2017 example from Turo of all places taught me why.
An all-natural V8 screaming to an 8,250-rpm redline, six-speed stick, and track-ready suspension? Yes, please! The precise, well-weighted steering and MagneRide suspension enable rapid direction changes evocative of cars hundreds of pounds lighter. The shifter delivers that just-right notchiness that’s snickety-snick-snick sensational, and the 526-horsepower 5.2-liter Voodoo will go down as one of the best engines of all time, oiling issues be damned! My time with the GT350 was limited to only a few days, but it easily proved its worth as one of the most intoxicatingly soulful modern cars on this side of a Ferrari and at a fraction of the price.

Gabe Carey: Chevrolet Corvette C8

Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Those familiar with me, whether from the Acceleramota Discord server or beyond, probably wouldn’t expect the Corvette to be among my top 50 cars, let alone my favorite. In part, that has to do with my affinity for European cars – not to mention my high tolerance for frequent trips to and from the shop in my 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. I’m also not 65 years old. 

But this isn’t about my favorite car. It’s a list of the best cars we’ve driven, and I’ll tell you straight up, the Quadrifoglio is far from perfection. That’s not the case for the 2024 Corvette C8 I cruised around in with our Editor-in-Chief, Jeric Jaleco, during the LA Auto Show. The first night I took it back to my hotel after a long day of travel, despite suffering from a horrific hunger migraine, I felt so alive that I even went out of my way to take a detour. “Fun at any speed” is a basic principle I feel every sports car should abide by, and most don’t. At least not anymore.

The first generation of Chevy’s mid-engine Corvette, however, is an exception. What it lacks in a manual transmission, it more than makes up for in good ol’ fashioned fun factor. The paddle shifters are responsive, it hugs corners like a dream, and the two pedals it does have are harmonious with the input of the driver. 

Given the intimate arrangement of the Android Automotive-powered infotainment system, video game-like drive mode controls, and the rest of the center stack, it’s like sitting in the cockpit of a luxurious racecar that’s just as comfy to drive on the road. It’s a grand tourer that out-grand tours the McLaren GT. Add to that the thunderous roar of a naturally aspirated V8 breathing down my shoulder, and you’ve got yourself a near-perfect sports car. Jeric will disagree, as he did on the podcast, but he’ll understand when he’s older.

Nathan Meyer: Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk5)

VW Golf GTI Mk5 on a track
Image credit: VW

Fast, fun, and fantastic. Any VW fan will tell you that the Mk5 (pronounced mark-five) Golf GTI revived the nameplate and ushered in a new era of hot hatch. 

As of 2023, it is an 18-year-old car, so it is not the fastest hatch. You’re bound to be disappointed if you compare it to a modern hot hatch. One thing this car has that even the Mk8 Golf GTI does not is fun in bucket-loads. Pulling away from a stoplight will give you the widest smile. You feel connected to the car through corners. Somehow, it does this while still providing insane practicality, so much practicality that even you can entrust your husband’s best friend to bring it back in one piece.

Sure, you will drive faster cars and experience more fun cars. But no car plays the Golf GTI’s role better than the Mk5 GTI. You can summon its power at any moment and take your daughter to ballet the next. It’s the duality of the Mk5 GTI that makes it one of the best cars to drive.

Sheilah Villari: Chevrolet Camaro (Gen 3)

1992 Chevy Camaro RS parked in front of mountainscape
Image credit: Chevrolet

It might be a bit nostalgic, but my favorite car will always be my first. It was so beautiful, and being handed down to me by my mom added an extra layer of specialness. My high school and most of my college car was a teal 1992 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport. My mom was a Camaro and Chevy enthusiast, and this was the sixth one she had owned. Growing up in a beach town, this was the perfect car to park near the waves, pile your friend into, and pull out all your gear. Even if the two-door and hatchback were a pain, she was a shiny gem in the hot southern sun.

The fact that I never got pulled over in this car was a miracle as well. Going around 100 on 95 was not hard. I barely did anything, and this glorious green missile would just glide. And while I did find it hard to see sometimes (being so low to the ground), it handled beautifully. The nights cruising with the windows down, the salty ocean air forced in, and seagulls serenading you on a coastal drive were absolute perfection.

There is something romantic about our fond memories in vehicles like this. They say you never forget your first, and I certainly won’t. I often think about trying to get that sparkly wonder back into my life, broadness and all. 

Joe Tilleli: Mazda CX-5

Red Mazda CX-5 interior shot
Image credit: Mazda

I’m a simple man. My first new car I leased was a 2015 Mazda CX-5. Comfortable, roomy enough for my needs, handling is great. It’s the perfect crossover vehicle.

When the lease was up after three years, I couldn’t be bothered to go shopping around. So what’d I do? I leased another Mazda CX-5 — the 2018 model this time. And what do you know, another three years blinked away like nothing. I can see the cycle I’m about to be in, so I broke free. I bought out the 2018 model. In hindsight, it would have been better to just finance it from the start but I didn’t account for my laziness to hop around from dealer to dealer in future years. I’m gonna be driving this Mazda CX-5 until it doesn’t drive anymore. Then I’ll probably get another Mazda CX-5.

Ural Garrett: Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8 parked by mountainside
Image credit: Mazda

I wouldn’t get my driver’s license and first whip until my last semester at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but there hasn’t been a car that’s imprinted itself on me throughout my lifetime as the Mazda RX-8. As a kid growing up in Los Angeles who was a fan of both the Fast & Furious series and Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the best car I’ve ever driven will be my first car, which I dubbed “05Wankel.” The car fits my personality in so many ways: uniquely built, slightly problematic, but pure, unadulterated fun. 

In 2009, there wasn’t a cooler feeling than blasting Teriyaki Boy’s “Tokyo Drift” as I shifted the six-speed manual and sped down the I-10. I can even vividly remember the first time I did burn out and parking lot donuts.

For a solid six years, the amount of money I spent on replacement tires and cans of motor oil could have definitely gone to the private student loan used to buy the car in the first place. The 255 horsepower allowed me to hit 60 mph in around six seconds, but the way that 9,000-rpm rev limit made my car scream was the real treat. Driving it years later around LA made me appreciate it even more.

Roger Feeley-Lussier: Mercedes Sprinter

Mercedes Sprinter van going off-road
Image credit: Mercedes-Benz

In my past life as an unpopular indie pop musician, I spent a lot of time in vans. My first band had a modified Dodge shuttle bus that kind of always felt like it was on the verge of exploding but looked good in our music video. It didn’t have air conditioning, and I’m sure it smelled strange, but it was home for a few years. By that, I mean we literally slept it in 90% of the nights we were on tour (hence the smell.) My next band toured with a Ford cargo van that we think had a past life as a Stanley Steemer fleet vehicle. The quarters were a little tighter, but fortunately, we didn’t sleep in it (unless absolutely necessary.)

On one of Pretty & Nice’s tours, I got a chance to drive a Sprinter van. It belonged to Bobby Burg, a member of the midwestern indie outfit Joan of Arc, as well as dozens of other projects. I can’t remember how it happened, but one day, Bobby, who was touring solo, invited a couple of us to ride with him for the drive across Indiana. He let each of us take a shift, and I don’t even know how to describe the sensation of driving a Sprinter for the first time. 

You feel like you’re on a cloud. You’re very high up but also somehow very close to the road. It corners and accelerates like a much smaller vehicle. The entire time you’re driving a Sprinter, you forget how massive the vehicle you’re piloting is – but it never feels unwieldy (like a box truck.) It’s almost a miracle of engineering.

In my post-touring life, I briefly worked as a rebalancer for Hubway, the Boston bikeshare program. There were (I think) 8 Sprinters in the fleet, and even the “bad one” was so much better than my band’s van that it felt like a dream every time I turned the key. And I haven’t even touched on the most important thing about Sprinters: they can be whatever you need them to be. I’ve seen them modded into campers, offroad vehicles, mobile disaster response vehicles, and more. 

Sure, it’s not a Maybach, but you can’t put very many drumsets into a Maybach. 

read more
Idaho state trooper Ford Mustang GT
News

Ford Mustang GT rocking Idaho State Trooper livery could be a new Mustang SSP

Well, isn’t this bad news for punks in the Gem State who might be thinking of tearing up the highways? Courtesy of reputable Mustang forum, Mustang7G, and user, br_an, we have a good look at what’s very much an S650-generation Ford Mustang GT dressed up in Idaho State Trooper attire. From the blacked-out paint to the decals, it’s all there.

Note that there’s currently no public statement or press release from the Idaho state troopers regarding the car, nor is there any follow-up in the forum about its authenticity. So we can’t even guarantee this is a real in-service police car. But it’d be hard to believe someone would blow all that money on a new Mustang plus the convincing livery to risk getting nabbed for impersonating law enforcement.

Idaho state trooper Ford Mustang GT
Image: Mustang7G

With mostly flat lands and occasionally cascading hills, it’d make sense to demo the return of any sort of Mustang police interceptors on Idaho highways. Given the storied history of the Mustang SSP, which saw widespread use across the country in the ’80s and ’90s, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Nowadays, the idea of a bespoke highway patrol interceptor built from a repurposed sports car isn’t totally alien. But it’s indeed uncommon for a department to shell out the money on a new one rather than pluck one from a crime scene or auction. A few tuners even offer packages to police departments that source vehicles that will “chase Porsches for a living.

Does this mark the return of a Mustang SSP model or the widespread use of Mustangs in law enforcement? Nah. Most definitely not. But it sure is a badass way to rile up the children and blow through your local government’s taxpayer dollars.

read more
RTR Mustang REALLY drifting
FeaturesNews

Witness the RTR Mustang as it finishes suspension testing

We’re Ford Mustang fans here at Acceleramota. I’ve long been a die-hard fanboy, and our founder and CEO claims to have converted after witnessing them in the flesh in Detroit. So of course we’re excited to see more of the inner workings behind one of the most intriguing and exciting tuner ponies, the RTR Mustang, which had recently completed suspension testing and validation. And thanks to their press release shared with reputable forum, Mustang7G, we have the scoop on everything that goes into making a fast Ford go faster.

Following months of exciting launch events, photos, and a dealership tour, the RTR Ford Mustang officially completed suspension testing at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research or NCCAR. At the helm and relaying feedback to the development team was IMSA driver, Billy Johnson. The young driver recently championed the Ford GT GTE cars during their stint and previously helped develop the Ford GT supercar, the Shelby GT350 and GT500 sports cars, and the Mustang GT4 and FP350S race cars.

Under Johnson’s guidance, the RTR team could fine-tune every aspect of the dynamics, both on track and over 20,000 claimed street miles, to pursue confidence-inspiring neutrality with plenty of room for adjustability. To achieve this goal, it meant fiddling with the adjustable dampers, sway bars, and different tire packages.

Different sizes for the Nitto NT555 G2 tire packages and adjustable suspension will allow customers to skew grip levels to their liking and induce traits such as under or oversteer. RTR intends to offer a squared set of 275-wide tires and a staggered set of 305-wide front and 315-wide rear tires, mimicking packages found on the Dark Horse and previous Mustang Mach 1 and Shelby GT350.

According to their test results, the RTR Mustang lapped NCCAR two seconds quicker than a stock Mustang GT Performance Package. Even cooler, a stickier tire setup on top of their suspension package shaved another 1.2 seconds, widening the gap between a modified and unmodified Mustang GT to a lifetime in motorsports. Mind you, this is merely their “mid-tier” Spec 2 model, which still leaves room for a supercharged Spec 3 and (fingers crossed) a widebody Spec 5.

In a separate walk-around video, two-time Formula D champion and RTR founder, Vaughn Gittin Jr., expresses transparency regarding the current RTR’s base setup. It reportedly won’t strive to be the winner at any given driving discipline, but it will ship with a neutral chassis setup that’s still potent on track out of the box but easy to tune for customers wanting more.

Founded in 2011, RTR Vehicles – Ready To Rock – has been acclaimed for what are perceived as the most youthful Ford Mustangs, forgoing the alleged “Boomer” status of legacy tuners like Roush or Shelby American, for slightly less money. And while its eccentric identity may deter some would-be buyers, there’s no denying the individuality and tunability rarely seen from rival tuners or factory cars. Or at least not for the same money. 

So yeah. We’re Mustang fans here at Acceleramota. And the RTR Mustang might just tickle our fancy a little bit more.

RTR Mustang apexing corner
Image: RTR Vehicles

read more
2024 Ford Lightning Platinum Black with headlights on
Features

The Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum Black is everything wrong with EV pricing

Earlier this week, Ford invited Acceleramota down to Brooklyn for an early look at a blacked-out special edition of the Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum trim. Naturally, it’s called the 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum Black, and it offers little more over the regular Platinum model than a few edgier styling choices, including a matte black wrap, standard 22-inch black wheels, black badges, 10 black Bang & Olufsen speakers – you get the idea.

When deliveries start in early 2024, the Lightning Platinum Black will be first production truck with a matte black wrap in Ford’s history. Special edition ‘Blacked-out’ trims of existing models are nothing new for car companies, or even trucks for that matter. Stellantis sells a ‘Night Edition’ Ram 1500, GM has ‘Midnight’ versions of both the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra Denali, and there’s even a ‘Midnight Edition’ Nissan Frontier.

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum vs Lightning Platinum Black

Feature2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum (w/ no additional options)2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum Black
Exterior paintOxford WhiteMatte Black
Wheels20-inch polished aluminum22-inch polished aluminum
BadgingPlatinumPlatinum Black
InteriorLight Slate Gray leatherBlack Onyx leather
Other featuresPanoramic sunroof, Bang & Olufsen 8-speaker audio system, 360-degree camera system, Panoramic sunroof, Bang & Olufsen audio system, 360-degree camera systemExclusive Platinum Black interior accents, Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system w/ subwoofer
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum vs 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum Black

The overlap between well-to-do pickup truck drivers and goths, I imagine, is pretty small. Still, Ford believes enough exist to make 2,000 of ’em at $99,990 apiece – nearly six grand more than the Lightning Platinum without the brooding blackout accouterments. Not counting the base “Pro” model, which is “currently unavailable” on the Ford website and has been since before I launched Acceleramota. The average MSRP of an F-150 Lightning across trim levels is $79, 243 – nearly $30K more than that of the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup; the Lightning is $12,000 more than the gas-powered F-150 as well.

As our own Nathan Meyer reported in his must-read coverage of the 2024 Cadillac Lyriq, the average price of a new electric vehicle (roughly $67K) is much closer to that of a luxury car ($74K) than new vehicles overall ($48K). For The American Prospect last month, columnist Harold Meyerson argued, that the reason Ford’s bleeding money on EVs is not because Americans aren’t interested, but because car companies have strategically positioned EVs as a “premium” option.

“The big problem for EVs from a price standpoint is that the whole industry has decided that the only way to cater to American tastes is to make their EV fleet out of trucks and SUVs, eliminating the economical sedans that might be affordable.”

Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect

Unlike the Lightning, the base model internal combustion engine (ICE) F-150 XL starts at $33,835. Not only will Ford dot com tell you where you can get one, but you can order your truck piecemeal, allowing you to choose your creature comforts – and forego the features you don’t need. In the case of the F-150, up until 2023, the base model was about as barebones as you could get: seat adjustments, locks, and even windows all lacked electronic power inputs. (Yes, manual windows were only discontinued this year!) While it does have an infotainment system, the display was less prominent than that of higher trims.

Sure, I imagine most Americans want a vehicle with power windows and locks. But, believe me when I say that some don’t. My grandfather, for example, literally lives on his farm. Where he lives, in the rural sprawl of the Eastern Shore, Maryland, you have to drive about half a mile down the street to make a phone call. Ostensibly, he is the target audience for a new pickup. Even the Lightning, which Ford describes as a “true, purpose-built work truck.”

Yet, rather than shell out for inessential frills, my grandfather owns a current-generation base model F-150 with rear-wheel drive (RWD), and I think that’s great! In fact, most workers you see on farms today are still rocking old Chevy C/Ks, F-150s, and Toyota Pickups from the 90s and early 2000s, back when they were small! While Ford’s marketing will have you convinced the F-150 Lightning is built for the American working class, the real starting price tells a different story, and the new, even more prohibitively expensive Platinum Black raises the ceiling without lowering the floor. Putting aside for a moment Ford is a corporation that values high margins over affordability, this fun little side project is a waste of resources when lower-cost trims are still hard to find. Not to mention it makes Forcd seem out of touch with its intended base.

2024 Ford Lightning Platinum Black silhouette facing large 'F-150 Lightning' text logo
Image source: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Naturally, the choice to luxury-wash EVs only intensifies the air of skepticism felt by half the U.S. population. Of course, as emission regulations tighten and states like California – if it were a country, the fifth largest economy in the world – pledge to ban gas-powered cars by 2035, affordable EVs aren’t a matter of if but when. In the meantime, color-swapping an EV version of America’s favorite truck that costs damn-near-$100K isn’t the flex Ford thinks it is. If anything, publicity stunts like the Platinum Black (let’s be honest, that’s what this is) further sour the blue-collar ethos it claims to uphold.

Ford isn’t the only, or even the worst, offender when it comes to the “luxification” of EVs. As with many trends in this segment, Tesla started it with the Model S and everyone else followed suit. But, knowing I could buy a slightly used Ferrari California for around the same price as the F-150 Lightning Platinum Black, I have two words of advice for the Ford executive looking down at this blog from their ivory tower: crank windows.

read more
Electrify Expo New York entrance
EventsFeaturesNews

Electrify Expo 2023: our 5 favorite cars from America’s biggest EV auto show

Earlier this month, we were somehow entrusted with media credentials for Electrify Expo at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, just East of New York City (not too far from where we hold NYCars & Coffee each week). This little EV-focused festival was less New York International Auto Show and more CES, minus all the boring stuff from CES that doesn’t sit on four wheels. Unlike a traditional media expo full of idle concept cars designed to drum up headlines, Electrify Expo gave us the chance to drive cars that are already out, but without the anxiety-inducing pressures that come with test-driving at a dealer.

#image_title

Although we didn’t have time to take every car on display out for a spin, we at least had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few notable models from top carmakers like Lexus, Ford, Volvo, and Tesla. Without getting too in the weeds, I do have Some Opinions on the cars we saw. No, that doesn’t include the Ford Lightning. I did drive it, but I’ll save those thoughts for another day. Maybe when I’ve moved on mentally from the Fisker Alaska.

1. Mustang Mach-E GT

Electrify Expo 2023: Ford Mustang Mach-E GT
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

I unabashedly love the GT version of the Mach-E. The base Mach-E is whatever, but Electrify Expo flawlessly demonstrated why the Mach-E GT deserves a second look. For one, they hired a professional drifter to burn those tires bald, and that was a feat to behold. My car can do 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds, but 3.8 hits different when you’ve got instant torque. That it can handle like this while looking like that is a testament to the potential for fun driving in EVs and crossover SUVs alike when a carmaker cares about delivering an engaging experience for the driver rather than another cookie-cutter commuter car.

Whenever Ford is inevitably forced to turn off the lights on the Dark Horse, the Mach-E GT has established a solid enough baseline for what we can expect from the next generation of Mustang sports coupes.

2. Lexus RZ

Electrify Expo 2023: Lexus RZ steering yoke
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

The Lexus RZ has stirred up controversy recently, not only for its steer-by-wire system but Toyota’s also taken a page out of Tesla’s book and decided normal people need F1-style steering yokes. While I sadly didn’t get the chance to drive the yoke-equipped model, I did drive an RZ with a regular steering wheel and it was just as unremarkable as I anticipated given its shared DNA with the underwhelming Toyota bZ4X. Just get a Prius, and if that’s not lavish enough, meet the Toyota Crown.

3. BMW i5

Electrify Expo 2023: BMW i5
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

I said it in the newsletter, and it’s even truer now that I’ve seen it showcased next to the repulsive BMW iX: the new 5 Series looks fire, and the BMW i5 M60 is the best of the bunch. I’ve gone on record saying the BMW i4 M50 is the best EV I’ve driven, and that still holds true today.

At least as far as design goes, the electric 5 Series M takes all the positive qualities of the i4 M50 – 500+ horsepower with a sub-4 second 0-60 speed on a rear-biased AWD platform – and pairs them with a front end I hate a little less. It also helps that on its other side was the BMW i7, which I lamented as my worst driving experience in recent memory.

4. Volvo EX30

Electrify Expo 2023: Volvo EX30
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Mark my words: No matter how this little crossover SUV turns out, the Volvo EX30 will print money. I came this close (imagine my thumb and pointer finger very close together) to reserving one before my wife told me not to because she wanted the Alfa Romeo Tonale.

She made the right call, however, since 1) We needed a car and the EX30 doesn’t come out until next summer and 2) I don’t fully trust Geely with a Chinese-made Volvo. Not necessarily because it’s made in China – hell, the MacBook Pro I’m typing on was, too – but because most other Volvo models are still manufactured in Sweden. This was clearly a move to cut costs. Whether that means cutting corners remains to be seen.

5. Ford Eluminator concept truck

Electrify Expo 2023: Ford Eluminator concept truck
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

Did you know you can buy a Mach-E motor from Ford’s website and swap it into any vehicle it fits? I didn’t either until I saw the Ford Eluminator concept truck, which is less of a truck and more of an overarching concept. For a little over four grand, Ford is saying you can put an electric motor with 480-horsepower and 634 pound-feet of torque in a 1978 F-Series pickup, sure. But you can also do your best RDJ impression and get a little more creative. For instance, if you’re mad about the Mach-E because it’s an SUV and not a proper Mustang, why not build your own electric muscle car? Show Ford how it’s done.

Honorable mention: Tesla Model X

Electrify Expo 2023: Tesla Model X converted into "house"
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

“It’s not a recession,” they say. Stop blowing your paychecks on avocado toast and someday you, too, can afford to live in a Tesla Model X.

read more
F-150 Lightning in the dirt
Features

Ford F-150 Lightning: an electric truck that still looks like a truck

The Ford F-150 Lightning, known colloquially as the Ford Lightning, takes a traditional approach to electrification in that it’s not trying to be an interstellar spaceship on wheels. This truck looks and performs like a truck. I’ll be damned. The F-150 Lightning offers strong towing and payload numbers, a spacious and upscale interior, and a long electric range.

Though it has been on sale for a couple of model years, Ford still struggles to keep pace with demand, and the wait for a new truck extends to a year for some configurations. Still, if you do find a Lightning for sale, the pickup offers actual truck capability without the need for gas, and that’s a compelling proposition for many buyers. 

Ford Lightning price and specs

Ford has raised prices on the Lightning a few times since its inception, moving it from the sub-$40,000 starting price to almost $60,000 at the bottom end.

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

  • Price: $59,974
  • Range: 240 miles (standard), 320 miles (extended)
  • Horsepower: 462 hp (standard), 580 hp (extended)
  • Torque: 775 lb-ft
  • Curb weight: 6,015 lbs (standard), 6,361 lbs (extended)
  • 0-60 time: 4.1 seconds (standard), 3.8s (extended)

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT

  • Price: $63,474
  • Range: 240 miles (standard), 320 miles (extended)
  • Horsepower: 462 hp (standard), 580 hp (extended)
  • Torque: 775 lb-ft
  • Curb weight: 6,015 lbs (standard), 6,361 lbs (extended)
  • 0-60 time: 4.1 seconds (standard), 3.8s (extended)

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat

  • Price: $75,974
  • Range: 240 miles (standard), 320 miles (extended)
  • Horsepower: 462 hp (standard), 580 hp (extended)
  • Torque: 775 lb-ft
  • Curb weight: 6,015 lbs (standard), 6,361 lbs (extended)
  • 0-60 time: 4.1 seconds (standard), 3.8s (extended)

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum

  • Price: $98,074
  • Range: 320 miles
  • Horsepower: 580 hp
  • Torque: 775 lb-ft
  • Curb weight: 6,893 lbs
  • 0-60 time: 4 seconds
Image credit: Ford

Ford options most Lightning trims with either a standard- or the pricier extended-range battery. Not only does the extended-range battery give you an extra 80 miles of juice, but it also adds nearly 120 horses, bringing the Lightning’s official 0-60 time from 4.1 seconds to under 4.

Naturally, the Platinum comes standard with the extended-range battery. The tradeoff is more than 800 lbs of added weight. And sure, that can add a fraction of a second to your 0-60 time, but who’s complaining about a 4-second pickup truck? Remember the Ram SRT-10? That thing had a Viper engine and just barely managed under 5. Besides, trucks are all about how much you can haul before you stall, which the Ford Lightning has in spades. With 775 lb-ft of torque gracing the lineup, it’s rated for a towing capacity up to 10,000 pounds – although, if we’re being real, you probably shouldn’t go over 2,000.

Buyers can add towing packages, upgraded wheels, power side steps, and a myriad of interior upgrades. That said, the F-150 Lightning is expensive and has only gotten pricier as time has gone on. Part of that is due to inflation, but it’s the opposite of the actions Ford took with its other mass-market EV, the Mustang Mach-E.

The F-150 Lightning currently competes against the Rivian R1T seemingly for the titles of Most Expensive and Hardest to Find. In the near future, the Ram 1500 Revolution, Chevrolet 1500 EV, and GMC Sierra EV will land, giving the Lightning a whole host of electric rivals. The Ram is more traditionally styled like the Ford, but the two GM EVs are futuristic in appearance. Pricing for all is expected to be close to the Ford’s MSRP, so we’re in for an expensive electric future in which we’ve subbed burning gas for burning cash.

Ford F-150 Lightning interior and tech

Just like its gas-powered brethren, Ford offers several upgrades and customization options for the F-150 Lightning. While the top Platinum trim brings all the goodies, including leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof, lower trims can be outfitted with much of the high-end kit through packages and standalone options.

As with most modern vehicles, but especially the electric ones, the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning follows the polarizing trend that is replacing physical HVAC controls with an oversized tablet. The 15.5-inch touchscreen display in the F-150 Lightning’s center console runs the automaker’s own Sync 4A software for all your truck specific needs. Thankfully, for everything else, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (not to be confused with Android Automotive) still remain.

Unlike GM, whose electric Silverado and Hummer trucks have taken to Android Automotive, Ford is sticking to the proprietary stuff, for better or worse. On one hand, because Sync 4A is built by Ford for Ford drivers, its interface is tailor-made to fit the F-150 Lightning. In the main control panel, for instance, the first selection you’ll see highlighted is the onboard scales feature – as long as you have the tow technology package. This lets you check the weight of your payload to make sure you didn’t overdo it on the supplies for your latest home improvement project.

Like the onboard scales utility, some of the more exciting tech is exclusive to certain packages or options. The 360-degree exterior zone lighting, ambient interior lighting, leather seats, and moonroof are all add-ons, as are the upgraded B&O speakers. Even the trailer brake controller is locked to the tow technology package. But no matter how it’s configured, the Ford Lightning comes standard with a host of different drive modes, tons of hidden storage as well as a frunk, built-in navigation, and a stow-away shifter that converts your center console into an in-car workstation.

Ford electrified trucks: F-150 Lightning vs F-150 PowerBoost hybrid

Image credit: Ford

The Ford F-150 Lightning offers similar configurations and options to the standard F-150, including the PowerBoost hybrid truck. They both provide in-bed generators and traditional truck capabilities, but the similarities do not extend to their powertrains. The hybrid powertrain delivers 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, giving it stout towing and hauling capabilities – but it still uses gas. 

The Lightning offers up to 320 miles of range on a charge and can use DC fast charging to charge from 15 to 80 percent in around 40 minutes for the extended-range battery. The challenge with an electric truck is that doing any “truck stuff” reduces the range. Towing and hauling put more strain on the electric drivetrain and can zap range. Additionally, cold weather can drain the batteries faster, as using the heat and other accessories takes more power. 

Pricing is another significant difference between the two trucks. The Lightning easily crests the $100,000 mark in its top configuration with options, while adding the hybrid powertrain to the standard F-150 drives the price upward by about $3,300. Of course, the hybrid requires gas purchases, and despite its improved fuel economy, it can be more expensive to operate. Charging costs money, but it can be cheaper than refueling. Some configurations of the Lightning are eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500, but some are too expensive to quality. 

Ford Motor Company news

Ford is deep into its electrification strategy and has made progress on its Blue Oval City EV and battery production facility in Tennessee. In addition to the F-150 Lightning, the automaker sells the Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit EVs in the United States. Ford has partnered with Volkswagen and others to produce and sell unique EVs in other countries, but there’s no indication that those models will make it to North America.

Ford has struggled with quality in recent years and has faced multiple recalls from all corners of its vehicle catalog. Consumers tend to rate EVs poorly for quality and satisfaction, so it’s not just a Ford problem, but the company has spent a ton of time and money fixing quality issues that could have been resolved on the factory floor. CEO Jim Farley has acknowledged the problem and promised a plan to fix the quality issues, but Ford has work to do.

read more